Residents, associations and businessmen gathered in Campoamor last Wednesday as Sofía Álvarez announced her plans for the creation of a platform that will ultimately provide financial autonomy for the Orihuela Costa and Entrenaranjos.

The Orihuela Councillor for Tourism and Foreign residents said that she wants to establish an Entidad Local Menor, a Minor Local Entity that will allow the two areas a greater say in their own administration and the local management of their resources.

After denouncing deficiencies in “health, infrastructure, the maintenance of roads, cleaning and the collection of waste,” she said that to establish the Minor Local Entity will take about 2 years but once they have done so it will allow greater financial freedom from Orihuela, with the group being allocated an agreed amount of the budget which it will then be able to assign independently of the Orihuela government.

But first the Councillor said that there was a need for feasibility studies to be carried out which will quantify both the requirements and the deficiencies in Entrenaranjos and on the Orihuela Costa. She said that everything is in place for the studies to be undertaken by the Alicante and Miguel Hernandez Universities, and as such their conclusions would be watertight.

“We are over 30 km away from the city which should strengthen our application,” said Álvarez. “And the fact that the Orihuela government barely covers the basic needs of the area has long been a matter of public record,” she added

The project will begin its journey on 6 June when it will formally establish the platform and elect its executive. The platform itself will be composed of 30 people of different” she said, and it will be “apolitical”.

The name will also be decided on at that time after which the group will meet on the first Thursday of each month when it will debate and agree on the measures to be taken. “It will promote ideas and events, as well as social and recreational activities in the coastal zone,” said Álvarez. It will also analyse local requirements to ensure the sustainability of the fabric and services in the area.

“The objective is to value the area in which we live, to quantify the needs, demand what is necessary by right and make it available to the people, regardless of their political colour,” she said. “There are no leisure activities or festivities and the centres that the coastal area and Entrenaranjos enjoy, have grown due to the efforts of elderly foreigners who have come to live here.”

Minor local entities are those population centres that are separated territorially from the municipality to which they belong and which have their own peculiar characteristics.

In the Valencian Community are currently seven. In Valencia: La Barraca d’Aigües Vives (Alzira) and El Perelló and Mareny de Barraquetes (Sueca); in Alicante: La Llosa de Camacho (Alcalalí) and La Xara and Jesús Pobre (Dénia); and in Castellón: Ballestar (La Pobla de Benifasá).

Coincidentally, the mayor was also on the coast on Wednesday afternoon, at the Ramón de Campoamor Civic Centre where he presented the PP candidates to the forthcoming elections. There was one notable absentee, however, Dámaso Aparicio, which continues to demonstrate the disorder that is still being experienced in the local Partido Popular.

Nor did it sit well with the mayor that just a short distance from his electoral launch his PP councillor Sofia Álvarez, was proposing a project that he knew nothing about.